A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10.

We had engaged this ship first and last about seven glasses, during which we in the Duke had eleven men wounded, three of whom were scorched with gun-powder.  I was again unfortunately wounded by a splinter in my left foot, just before the arms chest was blown up on the quarter-deck; and so severely that I had to lie on my back in great pain, being unable to stand.  Part of my heel-bone was struck out, and all the foot just under the ankle cut above half through, my wound bleeding very much before it could be stopped and dressed, by which I was much weakened.  In the Duchess above twenty men were killed and wounded, one of the slain and three of the wounded belonging to my ship, which had been lent when I was left in the harbour.  The Marquis had none killed or wounded, but two of her men were scorched by gun-powder.  The enemy was the Vigoniae, a brave and lofty new ship, admiral of Manilla, and this her first voyage.  She was calculated to carry 60 guns, and had above 40 mounted, with as many pattereroes, all brass, and, as we were informed, had a complement of 450 men, of whom 150 were Europeans, besides passengers.  We were told also that several of her crew had formerly been pirates, who had all their wealth on board, and were resolved to defend it to the last extremity.  The gunner was said to be a very expert man, and had provided extraordinarily for defence, which enabled them to make a desperate resistance; and they had filled all her sides between the guns with bales of soft goods, to secure the men.

During the whole action she kept the Spanish flag flying at her mast-head.  We could observe that we had shattered her sails and rigging very much, and had slain two men in her tops, besides bringing down her mizen-yard; but this was all the visible damage we had done them, though we certainly placed 500 round shot in her hull, which were six-pounders.  These large ships are built at Manilla of excellent timber, which does not splinter, and their sides are much thicker and stronger than those of the ships built in Europe.  Thus ended our attempt on the biggest Manilla ship, which I have heard related in so many ways at home, that I have thought it necessary to give a very particular account of the action, as I find it set down in my journal.  Generally speaking, the ships from Manilla are much richer than the prize we had taken; for she had waited a long time for the Chinese junks to bring silks, which not arriving, she came away with her cargo made out by means of abundance of coarse goods.  Several of the prisoners assured me that a Manilla ship was commonly worth ten millions of dollars; so that, if it had not been for the accidental non-arrival of the junks from China that season, we had gotten an extraordinarily rich prize.  After my return to Europe, I met a sailor in Holland who had been in the large ship when we engaged her, and who communicated to me a reason why we could not have taken her at all events.  Her gunner kept constantly in the powder-room, and declared that he had taken the sacrament to blow up the ship if we had boarded her, which accordingly made the men exceedingly resolute in her defence.  I the more readily gave credit to what this man told me, as he gave a regular and circumstantial account of the engagement, conformable to what I have given from my journal.

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